Yokosuka D4Y Suisei Judy Awakens

wpsynd19746A former Japanese Imperial Navy Yokosuka D4Y Suisei dive-bomber (Allied reporting name “Judy”) fired up her engine for the first time in almost 70 years recently at the Planes of Fame (POF) Museum and restoration facility in Chino, California, though the engine in question is a Pratt and Whitney R-1830 radial rather than the original equipment Aichi Atsuta liquid-cooled, inverted V-12 which were so notoriously unreliable that they were supplanted in later models with Mitsubishi MK8P 14-cylinder radial power plants, which the installation of the Pratt and Whitney engine will approximate.

This “Judy” was part of a small group of Japanese Imperial aircraft recovered in 1991 by Bruce Fenstermaker from Babo Island, Indonesia. POF engineer Duane Lundgren has led the restoration project, and has retained as much original plane as possible. This vanishingly rare machine, reportedly one of just two survivors worldwide, is scheduled to taxi under its own power at the upcoming annual County of San Bernardino Planes of Fame Air Show in May 2013.

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